Books·CBC Literary Prizes

Sandra Murdock wins the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize

Murdock will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and a writing residency at the Banff Centre. Read her story, Easy Family Dinners, now.
Sandra Murdock is a writer based in Dartmouth, N.S. (Arleigh Hood)

Sandra Murdock from Dartmouth, N.S. has won the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize for Easy Family Dinners, a story about living with a loved one who is battling alcoholism. 

As the grand prize winner, Murdock will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and a 10-day writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Her story was published on CBC Books.

"I want to explore and understand the grief and confusion I felt witnessing someone I loved change under the influence of this disease that thrives on silence and manipulation," Murdock told CBC Books in an email. "I was always trying to figure out what to say whilst frantically trying to understand what was happening. Every mundane moment was charged with hope and despair."

Easy Family Dinners was selected by the jury comprised of Scaachi Koul, Graeme Wood and Kyo Maclear.

"This story is a small treasure: a model of controlled narrative, irony, and poignant surprise," the jury said in a statement. "Its author has a voice of great promise."

Murdock's entry was chosen from more than 2,000 English-language submissions. There were more than 4,000 submissions in both English and French. The jury selected the finalists and the winner from a longlist of 30 stories. The longlist was selected by a team of readers made up of writers and editors across Canada

The other finalists for the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize were Lily Chang for If I wax poetic the pain feels worthwhile, Kat Main for How to Catch a Nightcrawler, Anastasia McEwen for Acceleration and Lee Thomas for True Trans. The finalists each received $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and had their stories published on CBC Books.

Diane Landry is the winner of the French-language grand prize, Prix du récit Radio-Canada, for her story Adieu chacal.

The CBC Literary Prizes have been recognizing Canadian writers since 1979. Past winners include Michael Ondaatje, Carol Shields, Michael Winter and Frances Itani.​

If you're a writer, you can join our Canada Writes Facebook group, a place where Canadian writers can connect and support each other.

Listen to Sandra Murdock read Easy Family Dinners:

Dartmouth, N.S. writer Sandra Murdock reads her essay "Easy Family Dinners," which won the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize.